ADITI BRENNAN KAPIL is a writer, actress, and director, of Bulgarian and Indian descent, who was raised in Sweden. Her work is produced internationally.
Her play Love Person, a four-part love story in Sanskrit, ASL and English, was developed during a Many Voices residency at the Playwrights' Center, work-shopped at the Lark Play Development Center in NY, and selected for reading at the National New Play Network (NNPN) conference 2006. Love Person was produced in a NNPN rolling world premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre (MN), Marin Theater (CA), and Phoenix Theatre (IN), in the 2007/08 season. In 2008/09 it was produced at Live Girls! Theatre in Seattle, Alley Repertory Theatre in Boise, and Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. Love Person received the Stavis Playwriting Award in 2009.
Her play Agnes Under The Big Top, a tall tale was selected as a 2009 Distinguished New Play Development Project by the NEA New Play Development Program hosted by Arena Stage, and was developed by the Lark Play Development Center (NY), Mixed Blood Theatre (MN), InterAct Theatre (PA), the Playwrights' Center (MN), and the Rhodope International Theater Laboratory (Bulgaria). Agnes Under the Big Top premiered at Mixed Blood Theatre and Long Wharf Theatre (CT) in 2011, and Borderlands Theater (AZ) in 2012 in a NNPN rolling world premiere.
Her Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy consists of Brahman/i, a one-hijra stand-up comedy show, The Chronicles of Kalki, and Shiv. The plays, based on the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, premiered in repertory at Mixed Blood Theatre in October 2013, and have since been produced across the US and in the UK. Brahman/i and The Chronicles of Kalki received an unprecedented double nomination for the James Tait Black Prize, University of Edinburgh, UK.
In the 2016/2017 season Kapil premiered SouthCoast Repertory (SCR) commissioned play Orange at Mixed Blood Theatre and at SCR, and Yale commissioned play Imogen Says Nothing at Yale Repertory Theatre. In addition, she is working on commissions with La Jolla Playhouse and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
She is the Playwright-in-Residence at Mixed Blood Theatre, an Artistic Associate at Park Square Theatre, a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center, and a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists.
A coming of age journey through Orange County told from the perspective of a girl on the autism spectrum.
Commissioned by South Coast Repertory Theater. World premiere at South Coast Repertory (2017). Regional premiere at Mixed Blood Theater, Minneapolis (2016).
“ORANGE offers audiences moments of laughter, glimpses of tenderness and a good deal of food for thought about ability and perception. It neither apologizes for nor lionizes its central character, but insists that we accept Leela whole and complete with complexities and contradictions. That almost always makes for good theater, but perhaps even more so these days.” – Pioneer Press
"engagingly told... “Orange” becomes a sort of road story where breaking free opens up a path of self-discovery. Kapil keeps the tone lightly humorous, bordering on whimsical, yet provides satisfying levels of drama...“Orange” isn’t so much a portrait of our county as it is an up-close look at how perceived outsiders are affected by its various vagaries – foibles we either embrace or resist, depending on who we are on the inside." - OC Register
IMOGEN SAYS NOTHING
A revisionist comedy in verse and prose featuring Imogen, a character who only appears in the first folio of William Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing', speaks no lines, and is probably a typo. A play about the voices absent from our canon and the consequences of cutting them.
Commissioned and premiered by Yale Repertory Theatre (2017).
“A fierce feminist fable has plenty to say about sexism, classism, literary criticism, canonism and chauvinism.” – Hartford Courant
“A beautiful, funny, and chilling exploration of the omissions with which traditional “artistry” has saddled us. Collapsing literal and conceptual worlds with the text of Shakespeare’s Much Ado and A Winter’s Tale, Kapil conjures a sort of creative fury that simmers, rises, and then explodes right on time.” – New Haven Independent
a musical with the band Darunam
A thwarted love story set in the present day and during the Nato bombing of Belgrad in 1999, in which the dissolution of a Yugoslavian rock band mirrors the dissolution of a country.
DISPLACED HINDU GODS
This trilogy of plays is loosely based on the trinity of Hindu deities- Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva- displaced into contemporary immigrants in the West. It features a variety of styles: a stand-up comedy routine, a girl-gang thriller, and a science fiction fantasy. While each play stands alone, they co-exist in a common universe where displacement, identity, post-colonialism, immigration, and puberty are explored through the lenses of creation, survival, and destruction. The three shows are cast with seven actors (some in multiple roles).
Premiered at Mixed Blood (October 2013). New England premiere at Company One Theatre, Boston (2014).
“Aditi Brennan Kapil might be the ideal fit as playwright-in-residence at Minneapolis’ Mixed Blood Theatre… the shows are engaging and briskly paced…After BRAHMAN/I goes for the funny bone, KALKI for the adrenalin glands, SHIV is a play aimed straight at the heart.” – Pioneer Press
“Kapil and Mixed Blood and DISPLACED HINDU GODS had my writer spirits soaring and crashing all night long…You’ll definitely want to see more than one.” – Daily Planet
"Kapil’s fertile imagination is running riot, comic one moment, enlightening the next. All three parts of “The Displaced Hindi Gods Trilogy” are worth seeing." - Boston Globe
"Each play stands on its own as a work, but viewing them all in one sitting allows a greater appreciation of Kapil’s ability to weave similar themes, symbols, and voices into one cosmic entity. C1’s daring staging of the trilogy underscores their continued commitment to deeply smart, funny, and damn relevant theater." - My Entertainment World
PART ONE: BRAHMIN/I: A ONE-HIJRA STAND-UP COMEDY SHOW
This hilarious stand-up comedy routine/play takes on history, mythology, gender roles, and high school through the distinct comic lens of Brahman/i: an intersex boy/girl tethered by neither gender nor culture, and wildly curious and inventive in his/her examination of both.
Productions at Crowded Fire, La Jolla Playhouse, About Face Theatre/Silk Road Rising, Quantum Theatre. Developed with Ruth Easton New Play Series, Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis (May 2012); Bay Area Playwrights Festival, San Francisco (July 2012).
“[Y]ou may find that you need to remind yourself throughout the performance that this is a scripted play, not a piece of ad-libbed stand-up…Full of sharp observations, heartbreaking truths, hilariously-told anecdotes, and entertaining takes on the history of the colonisation of India, BRAHMAN/I deserves your time….This one is well worth seeing.” – Aisle Say Twin Cities
PART TWO: THE CHRONICLES OF KALKI
A comic-book infused girl-gang thriller chronicles the adventures of Kalki, a young girl who may or may not be the final Avatar of Vishnu, come to rid the world of demons and evil.
Production at The Gate Theatre, London (2015). West Coast premiere at Boston Court (July 2015).
“a novel piece of writing…Kapil doesn’t settle for dreary old reality, but wants to get in touch with something much racier and cosmic. In doing so she pushes a few theatrical boundaries and gives us a sort of ‘Grange Hill’ meets ‘The Matrix’ in a Bollywood ‘Thelma and Louise’ style.” - Time Out London
“a story so simultaneously bewitching and absurd, it could only be the stuff of wet dreams…Kapil’s ingenious use of metaphor drowns the everyday in Hindu mythology, bringing to life a maverick and electrifying final avatar of Vishnu and positioning two unsuspecting girls in unravelling history and the holy quest for self realization.” - Metropolist
PART THREE: SHIV
Exploring the psychological residue of post-colonialism, Shiv is a fantastical journey to liberation from one’s past, from one’s present, and of the destruction that makes rebirth possible.
Productions at Curve Theatre, London (2015) and Boston Court, LA (2015).
“a poetic, often humorous and ultimately profound meditation on such far-flung topics as cultural assimilation, kite flying, colonialism, literary publishing, adultery and “Star Trek…” This installment [of DISPLACED HINDU GODS] proves satisfying as it skillfully maps its heroine’s journey of self-discovery to the mysteries of space exploration.” - LA Times
“a sensuous, mesmerizing and thoroughly thought-provoking production” - San Gabriel Valley Tribune
“a hip, imaginative theatrical voice…With its imaginary fishing and space travel on a mattress, SHIV has a mixture of styles that keep you guessing at its meaning and purpose…absorbing [and] gutsy…” – Star Tribune
AGNES UNDER THE BIG TOP, A TALL TALE
AGNES… explores the intersecting lives of several immigrants in a US city. It is a magical tale of hope and disappointment, identity and reinvention, loneliness and community, as narrated by an itinerant subway busker.
A Distinguished New Play Development project by the NEA as administered by Arena Stage and developed at the Lark NY, the Playwrights’ Center Minneapolis, Interact Theatre, and the Rhodopi International Theatre Laboratory in Bulgaria.
Produced in a rolling world premiere as part of NNPNs CLNPF Program, 2011/2012 at Mixed Blood Theater, MN; Longwharf Theater Company, CT; subsequent production at Borderlands Theater, AZ.
“…this lovely, brooding play bodes well for the future of the theater.” – The New York Times
“…a tough and tender play…that is as graceful and evocative as trapeze artists flying through air with the greatest of ease.” – Variety
“Lives intersect while others hover in parallel, but Kapil has created a masterly matrix for what are essentially first-person short stories told by the five main characters… this lyrical, bittersweet play is a spirit-soaring experience.” – Hartford Courant
A four part love story in Sanskrit, ASL and English in which love transcends sexual orientation, physical attraction, and social structure, and rests instead on the ways in which we communicate and how communication bonds or breaks us. The play is structured around 4 Sanskrit love poems that influence and reflect the journeys of the characters.
Produced in a rolling world premiere as part of NNPNs CLNPF Program, 2007/2008 Season at Mixed Blood Theatre, MN; Marin Theater, CA; Phoenix Theater, IN.
Subsequent productions at Live Girls Theatre, WA; Alley Repertory Theatre, ID; Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago.
Received the Stavis Playwriting Award.
“Kapil’s LOVE PERSON is a fascinating brew of emotion, wit and intellect that challenges its audience to reassess how the form of communication shapes understanding.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune
“startling and evocative” – Twin Cities Daily Planet
“Heart-pounding attraction, intense all-night conversations- Aditi Brennan Kapil’s LOVE PERSON captures the giddiness of new love affairs. But the play is even more eloquently realistic about the wear and tear that time wreaks on relationships.” – American Theatre Magazine
PLAYS FOR YOUTH
THE ADVENTURES OF HANUMAN, KING OF THE MONKEYS
A Bollywood-style musical loosely adapted from the central story in the Ramayana from the perspective of Hanuman the mischievous monkey.
Produced at SteppingStone Theatre for Youth.
HANUMAN & THE GIRL PRINCE
In iambic verse. Loosely adapted from a brief incident in the Mahabharata, and the dance drama “Chitrangada” by Rabindranath Tagore.
Produced at SteppingStone Theatre for Youth.
THE DEAF DUCKLING
An educational play about growing up Deaf, created in collaboration with Deaf Performer, Nic Zapko.
Sam is a Deaf child born to a hearing family, who discovers a new world through American Sign Language in this bilingual fable. The play is equally accessible and entertaining to both Deaf and Hearing audiences.
Produced at Mixed Blood Theatre, Deaf West Theatre.